Black-Bellied Plovers in Summer Plummage

A Black Bellied Plover allows a close approach by a kayaker.There was a healthy number of Black-Bellied Plovers around the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve this morning. Not too surprising as these birds winter at the reserve, but now they’re in breeding plumage and will undoubtly be heading north to the tundra for breeding soon. The largest of the plover found in North America, these birds are really quite striking in their breeding plummage.

These birds can be a bit shy. In fact many times they act as the safety alarm for mixed flocks of shorebirds. It takes very little to frighten them, sending the little bold black & white birds into flight while sounding an alarm call. However most of the birds I encountered this morning were quite content to allow me to slip in close with my kayak. Sometimes they’d scurry back a few yards but by softly grounding and patiently sitting still they’d move back closer as they searched for breakfast.

Black-bellied Plovers winter along North Carolina's Crystal Coast then migrate to the tundra to breed.
Black-bellied plovers can be shy and difficult to photograph.

Using a kayak for nature photography is one trick to getting close to skiddish birds.

This entry was posted in Kayaking, Wildlife Photography.

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